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Trump, Clinton and polls that tell different tales

world Updated: Jun 27, 2016 21:59 IST
Yashwant Raj
US presidential election

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (left) and Senator Elizabeth Warren wave to the crowd before a campaign rally at the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Monday.(AFP)

As Donald Trump showed off his newly refurbished golf course in Scotland last week, his numbers tanked leaving him behind Hillary Clinton by 12 points in one poll and by 5 in another.

The poll that showed him trailing Clinton by 12 points, by The Washington Post/ABC News, was blamed on “self-­inflicted controversies” - essentially his controversial remarks.

And the second poll, by The Wall Street Journal/NBC, was spun as a positive development for Trump, that the deficit grew only by 2 points despite his remarks and tumult in his campaign team.

Both polls were conducted around when Trump was having a rough time, mostly of his own making: racist remarks about a federal judge, and anti-Muslim comments after the Orlando shootings.

In the middle of it, he fired his controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski under pressure from key advisers of his inner circle, including his three adult children.

The Post said its poll revealed “fresh doubts about Trump within his own party” and posited that the presidential elections in November could be a “referendum on Trump more than anything else”.

Nearly two of three Americans found him unfit to be president, and said his comments about Muslims and women showed him as biased. They found his remarks against the judge racist.

Clinton came out looking just a bit better. But nearly half of these polled still remain “anxious” about her candidacy. And, that’s why, many will opt for Trump despite reservations about him.

Clinton lied Trump 51% to 39% in the Post/ABC poll. Those numbers changed dramatically in the WSJ/NBC poll to 46% and 41% for the two presumptive nominees.

In the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Democratic candidate Clinton is leading Trump 46.1% to 39.4%, and she is ahead of her Republican rival in every poll by margins ranging between 12 and 2 points.

The analysis of Journal/NBC poll numbers, which mirror the national average, took a different tack from the Post poll, and divined in them positive signs for Trump - that the gap with his rival “grew by just two points (from 3 earlier) after enduring the rockiest phase of his campaign so far is a sign that perceptions of the candidates are hardening”.

The pollsters attributed his soft fall to Clinton’s own negatives, her continued un-favourability numbers, that remain high, as do his, a trait they share and one they have failed to shake off.